Latest Situation Updates

New Ug99 video documentary released “Out of Uganda: An Aggressive Crop Killer That Threatens Global Food”

Out of Uganda: An Aggressive Crop Killer That Threatens Global Food Fungal disease in wheat crops has been a serious but controllable problem, but a newer strain of what’s called “stem rust” has scientists worried. January 8, 2018 by Kerstin Hoppenhaus & Sibylle Grunze The video below is the first part in a six-part series examining the scourge of Ug99, a type of fungus that causes disease in wheat crops — one that scientists worry could threaten global food supplies. Visit our series archive for all published episodes. There was a time when one of the most dangerous crop diseases … Continue reading

New, ground-breaking stem rust research highlighted in the journal Science

New, ground-breaking stem rust research is highlighted in the prestigious journal Science published on Dec 22 2017. A perspective entitled “The Quest for Durable Resistance” by Matthew J. Moscou and Peter van Esse provides context and outlines the significance of two research papers that independently identify two Avr effectors from the fungal pathogen Puccinia graminis f.sp. tritici, the causal agent of wheat stem rust. These research papers are considered a milestone in terms of improving our understanding the biology of rust pathogens. In the first research paper entitled “Variation in the AvrSr35 gene determines Sr35 resistance against wheat stem rust race Ug99”, Andres Salcedo … Continue reading

Stem rust attacks in Sweden heralds the return of a previously vanquished foe

Scientists at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) are reporting that stem rust has returned to Sweden. In a recently released press release, lead researcher Anna Berlin from the Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology outlines an unusually intense stem rust attack in wheat fields in Almunge, Uppland in the summer of 2017. The last major stem rust outbreak reported from Sweden was in 1951, so this latest outbreak and the initial indications that it is a sexual population emerging from barberry is a major cause for concern. Full details of the report from the Swedish University of … Continue reading

Detection of stem rust race RRTTF in Ecuador. A potentially important new race for the Americas

A team of scientists from Ecuador, Canada and the USA recently published on the detection of race RRTTF based on samples collected in Ecuador in February 2016. The study led by Dr Charlie Barnes from the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA), Quito, Ecuador has just been published in Plant Disease. Race RRTTF is distinctive by its combined virulence to genes Sr38 and Sr13 and poses a significant threat to wheat production in North and South America as a large proportion of current commercial cultivars are known to be susceptible. The origin of Pgt race RRTTF in Ecuador is unknown, … Continue reading

Study identifies likely scenarios for global spread of devastating crop disease

New research reveals for the first time the most likely months and routes for the spread of new strains of airborne ‘wheat stem rust’ that may endanger global food security by ravaging wheat production across Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the wider world. Stem rust (or black rust), named for the blackening pustules that infect plant stems, caused devastating crop epidemics and for centuries before being tamed largely by use of resistance genes. Since the turn of the century, however, aggressive new strains have emerged – such as ‘Ug99’, first detected in Uganda in 1999 – that infect widely … Continue reading